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Ghost Adventures

"My name is Zak Bagans, lead investigator of the Ghost Adventures Crew. I never believed in ghosts until I came face-to-face with one. So I set out on a quest to capture what I once saw onto video. With no big camera crews following us around, I am joined only by my fellow investigators Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin. The three of us will travel to some of the most highly active paranormal locations where we will spend an entire night locked down from dusk until dawn. Raw. Extreme. These are our Ghost Adventures.
Zak Bagans, Ghost Adventures opening pre-season 9.

"There are things in this world that we will never fully understand. We want answers. We have worked years to build our credibility, our reputation. Working alongside the most renowned professionals in the field. Catching groundbreaking proof of the paranormal. This is our evidence, our Ghost Adventures."
Zak Bagans, Ghost Adventures current opening

As the show's name implies, Ghost Adventures is a show about three ghost hunters (Zak, Nick, and Aaron) and the events that transpire from their attempts to prove that ghosts are real. Like most paranormal shows, this group actively seeks out places that are reputedly haunted, and spend the night in the area from sundown to sun-up. Unlike most paranormal shows, they really delve into the history of the locations with numerous interviews with a wide variety of witnesses, past employees, and area neighbors. This can take up a quarter to half of the aired episode itself. They inspect both audio and video footage they have captured offscreen and often air results (especially EVPs) during the scenes where they are captured. If they capture video or photographic evidence, they sometimes take them to specialists who examine them and give their thoughts.

Unlike most paranormal shows, they do not have a huge film crew with them. Often it is just them three on location, sometimes with a guest or someone of religious affiliation if they are entering a dangerous place. Each have their own camera as well. Often times their method of choice in getting results is through provocation, basically insulting and daring any entities to appear, make noises, or even physically attack them. They often split up and individually inspect areas alone while recording EVPs as well. This is more general questions than provocation, usually. The former works disturbingly well.

Tropes evident in this show:

  • Abandoned Hospital: Well, duh - abandoned hospitals and asylums are known to be terrifying in broad daylight, let alone the dead of night. What paranormal investigator wouldn't check these places out?
    • To list them off: The Abandoned Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey, The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in West Virginia, Pennhurst in Pennsylvania, Poveglia in Italy, Linda Vista Hospital in California, Rolling Hills Asylum in New York, Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Kentucky, Yorktown Hospital in Texas, Tooele Hospital in Utah, Ashmore Estates in Illinois, Letchworth Village in New York, and Tuolumne General Hospital in Sonora, California
  • The Ace: Zak would be this, with his Hot-Blooded nature and Mr. Fanservice qualities, if it weren't a conscious effort to get a rise out of ghosts. He's also nearly always the first to be affected, or the worst out of the three (Poveglia Island, The Ancient Ram Inn), which averts the "never suffers consequences" part.
  • Adorkable: Aaron, though the trio as a whole are known to show shades of this.
  • Aside Glance: Aaron gives some rather amusing looks to the camera when Zak says that they're going to be offering him up to whatever evil spirits they're investigating. Notable are the occasions (there have been at least two) where he's been sent alone into an abandoned prison shower.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Several times, their investigation takes place after a flash of severe weather, or as they pointed out, unusual things happening with clouds. The huge storm at Vulture Mine, the random rainstorm in Sacramento (which came after they had talked about Sacramento's history having lots of floods), the tornadoes at the Hale's Bar Marina, which blew away the dock they were standing on just a few minutes beforehand, the "ominous cloud eyes" at the Idaho prison and the contrails forming an X over Poveglia. Two days before they were to investigate Letchworth Village, Hurricane Irene struck New York and trapped them in Manhattan Island.
  • Bald of Awesome: Aaron
  • Battle Strip: The ghosts of the nuns at Yorktown Hospital are said to hate men with tattoos. So during the investigation, Zak takes off his shirt and shows his. The nuns' reaction upon seeing his tattoo? They reportedly say, "It's sick."
  • Berserk Button: If you are a violent ghost and you're known to attack women, children, the elderly, people who aren't paranormal investigators that know what they're getting into, Zak will not like you.
    • That, and if you were known to be an abusive a-hole in life to others, picking on the weak and defenseless, Zak will call you out on it.
    • And NOBODY! MESSES! WITH ZAK'S! 'DO!!!
  • Bizarrchitecture: The Winchester Mystery House
  • Blatant Lies: In Sacramento Tunnels, the only reason the gang is off to a salt water taffy store is to 'make sure their nutrition levels are high' and getting 'food from the major food groups'
    • They also do this when they impersonate historical people like Civil War soldiers.
  • Butt Monkey: Aaron is usually the one who shows the most fear of the angry spirits. So, naturally, he tends to be the one to get put in the places where the more violent events have occurred to be used as a trigger object.
    • And his birthday is April Fool's Day.
      • In the Stanley Hotel, Zak and Nick forced him to wear a wig to see if a ghost would come into his room and kiss him, thinking he was a woman.
    • Nick can be this sometimes. Especially with the Washoe Club ghosts. On a revisit to the Washoe Club, nearly every EVP involving Zak and Aaron was about being intimidated by them, while there was about fifteen EVP's about how much they hated Nick.
    "Hate Nick."
    "Nick... Go home."
    • Zak becomes talk show fodder especially after the "incubus incident" at the Ancient Ram Inn.
  • Catch Phrase: "This is why we do this." or "This is what we hunt for."
  • Cat Scare: At the Moon River Brewery before the investigation started. Probably one of the funniest moments in the series.
    • In this case it was a very literal cat scare.
    • After Zak hauls ass out of the freaky clown-doll hotel, he steps into the car—and there's a clown-doll in the driver's seat. He promptly screams and falls out of the car.
    • Lets not forget the incident during the Yorktown Hospital episode involving Zak and a donkey.
      • That donkey near the Bonnie Springs Ranch didn't seem to bother him though.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The anointing oil given to the crew in the Bobby Mackey's Music World episode is used after Zak is possessed on Poveglia Island.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Zak. Reading his Twitter feed makes it even more apparent.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Ties with Sound Effect Bleep when ghostly activity kicks up.
  • Creepy Basement: The most paranormally active sites are also largely some of the darkest and creepiest places. A lot of them are called "the bad room."
  • Creepy Child: Almost every time you hear a child at the site, they never turn out to be normal. Most notably, in the Penhurst State School episode where all signs point to the little girl being malevolent, with only the other spirit(s) to keep her in check.
    • They've also said that many times, demonic entities will mimic young children.
  • Creepy Doll: Zak was given one to disassemble in the Magnolia Lane plantation. It wasn't malevolent in purpose, being intended to help free the tormented slaves' spirits, but it still looked like something from The Blair Witch Project.
    • Zak once confessed that the three things that scared him the most were heights, snakes, and creepy dolls.
    • Creepy dolls were also noted at the Riddle House, Linda Vista Hospital, and the home/museum of another paranormal investigator they were interviewing. Either dolls have an odd knack for popping up at haunted locations, or the crew likes making a note of them when they edit the episodes.
    • The return to the Goldfield Hotel had the trio came across a Clown Hotel, where two of the walls of the front office were literally covered with clown dolls. Needless to say, Zak did not stay in there very long.
  • Demonic Possession: Happens to each of the guys separately. Most notable scenes include:
    • Preston Academy: Near the end of the lockdown, Zak states that he doesn't feel good and walks away. When Nick and Aaron find him, Zack is sitting in a chair with a creepy smile on his face. Supposedly, he's possessed by a spirit that wants to protect the three from the demonic forces.
    • Poveglia Island: Zak got possessed by a demon and started cursing, hitting himself and made threats to kill his friends. They had to stop the investigation and used anointing oil to exorcise the demon.
  • Do Not Attempt: This message popped up when they were at the Vulture Mine, with good reason since the place is MILES from proper civilization, not all of the structures are entirely stable, and then there's two deadly locals - rattlers and scorpions. All this on top of them initially attempting to reach their lockdown in the middle of a thunderstorm and flash flood warnings and ignoring road hazard signs until the cops approached them, requiring them to turn back (though by that point, they'd realized there was no way they would reach the lockdown).
    • The warning also pops up both times Zak attempts to face his fear of snakes by picking up a snake. The exact wording of the warning seems to be lampshading the stupidity.
    • There were also Do Not Attempt warnings found in the other episodes found in Arizona. The episode in Tombstone, AZ had Zak going down a deep abandoned mine, and a message appears saying that they shouldn't try entering a deserted mine, while the episode in Jerome, AZ had Zak specifically telling us to not try what he did, which was record what a supposed suicide victim probably went through. That portion almost ended his life!!
    • This shows up again in the episode at the Pioneer Saloon when Nick and Billy go down an old 300-foot ladder in an abandoned mine. The two of them both say things like "This is a bad idea," and Zak's voiceover also warns the audience, very seriously, that this is a bad idea, along with citing an expert abandoned mine explorer who said he would never go down that particular ladder.
    • Zak gives one of these in the Hales Bar Marina episode right before he jumps a water-filled ditch that has downed power lines lying dangerously close to it. It gets Played for Laughs after Zak's attempt results in him landing on his ass (but fortunately safely away from the water and power lines) in front of the news crew he was going to talk to.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Inverted only if the ghosts/spirits are those that have been known to harm innocent people during life or mess around with those that aren't paranormal investigators. See above on Berserk Button.
  • Double Entendre - The investigation of Rocky Point Manor led to a whole slew of these. The brother of the manor's owner even told Zak, "Enough with the double entendres, dude!".
  • Mr. Fanservice: Zak, who has a tendency to rush into things, an indecently muscled body and constantly messy dark hair. In the "Birdcage Theater" episode, Zak felt something touch him around the hip area while they were talking about the town's history of prostitution. Despite having Nick and Aaron with him, and a female employee claiming she got kissed on the cheek once, nobody else got felt up.
  • Even the Subtitler Is Stumped: The crew have a hard time understanding one of the people working on a historic trolley in the "Fort Chaffee" episode. The subtitles mainly consist of ?????? and "____________".
  • Ghostly Chill: Plenty of times.
  • Haunted House: Well, duh.
  • Hearing Voices: Several times even without them enhancing the audio.
  • Hell Gate: The trio have investigated a couple places that are accredited as portals to Hell, or just overall demonic.
  • Hidden Depths: They credit Aaron as the "equipment tech" during the opening, but give credit where it's due: Aaron is just as good at detecting spiritual energy as Zak or Nick.
  • Large Ham: Zak speaks like he's the narrator in one of H.P. Lovecraft stories.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: On occasion when they have to cover multiple spots.
  • Loveable Rogue: Zak does stupid stuff on a regular basis, but whenever he crosses the line from "reckless" to "asshole", he always owns up to it and apologizes.
  • Mark of the Beast: Has this trope somewhat. After the incident on Poveglia Island where Zak was possessed, he felt an evil part of him want to go back inside the building, where the normal part of him wanted to leave. He was inspired by this event to get a large tattoo on his back of a sort of angel, half being a good angel, and half looking demonic.
    • Played a little more straight when the bishop outright said it after Zak showed him video of the three scratches Zak got on his back at Bobby Mackey's, and the bishop said that he'd be performing an exorcism right there.
    • Several times, the temperature has been manipulated to read 66.6 degrees.
  • Mexican Standoff: Zak, Nick and Aaron shot each other at the Eastern State Penitentiary...using cameras.
  • Mundane Solution: How do you get proof that ghosts actually exist? You're going to need a psychic and do lots of elaborate seances that may or may not be self-fulfilling prophecies, right? Or you could just provoke them into doing something and bring an EMP monitor for physical evidence.
  • No Indoor Voice: Zak is much louder than most paranormal investigators. Could be Fridge Brilliance considering Zak's voice is perfect for literally waking the dead.
  • Oh Crap: "Manifests" in the form of "O-faces" made by Zak and Aaron.
  • Orphanage of Fear: The trio investigated the Soldiers National Museum at Gettysburg, previously an orphanage during the American Civil War and run by a sadistically cruel matron.
  • Paranormal Investigation: Duh.
  • Parental Incest: Though they beep out a word during the Lizzie Borden house episode, it's pretty clear that they're asking the ghost of her father if he sexually abused her. And the answer seems to be yes.
  • Screamer Trailer: Used just before going to commercial. And if they don't include a shot of a floating white nightgown, usually there's an image of a Creepy Doll with one blank eye socket.
    • Or a man (It might be Zak) holding his open mouth up to a bright light bulb.
    • Or the CREEPY sliced up disembodied hand.
  • Shout-Out: A few, including The Soup (which has poked fun at them), Scooby-Doo, Doom, and the Silent Hill movie.
  • Sweet Tooth: Aaron and Zak show they have quite a sweet tooth in the Sacramento Tunnel episode. The reason they're there is to get 'nutritional value' for the lockdown, and we see them pile their baskets with sweets. Zak's total rounded to around $36 (although this might also be because he was also getting candy for Nick)
  • Rule of Three: Besides the fact that there are three guys on the crew, that number has been somewhat important. While investigating a correctional institute for troubled boys, Aaron received three large scratches on his leg, which scarred. Zak has even said that it was demonic, and the event is referred to a few times later on.
    • Zak's back having three scratches at Bobby Mackey's and the scratches staying for three days.
    • Tooele Hospital is said to live off this trope.
  • Tempting Fate: Oh, Zak. He went so far as to lead a black magic ritual in the Ancient Ram Inn when the person they consulted refused to participate. That night he had a dream where a witch scratched up his face, and he woke up with scratches on his neck.
    • It's stated by paranormal experts that what happens when Zak goes around ordering ghosts to prove their existence is only the tip of a large, violent iceberg of results. Meaning that things could get much, much worse than scratches and creepy voices.
    • He (and the entire crew) also participated in a voodoo ritual in the Magnolia Lane Plantation.
    • When Zak laid on the floor with a axe hanging directly over his face at the Villisca Axe Murder House, taunting the spirit that murdered the family to drop it on him.
    • Zak standing on a chair near a third-floor railing in the Excalibur Nightclub, challenging any spirits to push him over like they had allegedly done to other patrons of the nightclub.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Aaron went from being Zak and Nick's easily-frightened equipment tech to an investigator in his own right. That's not to say that he doesn't still get freaked or make Memetastic expressions (or get the Butt Monkey treatment), but if you compare early episodes with later ones, you can see that he's got way more confidence now than he did at the beginning of the show.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Zak has stated that he does not like snakes, clowns, heights, sharks, cockroaches and creepy dolls. This doesn't stop him from climbing up to high places or picking up a wild snake.

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